Catholic peace protester arrested in MoD demo

 A Catholic protester against Britain's war with Iraq was arrested for obstruction at a Ministry of Defence building in Central London this morning. Scott Albrecht tried to block the access driveway to and from the Old War Office for a short period before being dislodged by a heavy police presence. The Old War Office, on Horseguards Avenue, is being used to conduct Ministry of Defence work while the main MoD building opposite is being refurbished. The 41-year-old married father of four from St Alban's is a former school chaplain and currently a student of Theology at the Missionary Institute of London. Albrecht and Dan Martin, 48, a Catholic charity worker and a married father of four from Wandsworth, had been attempting to use chains to block the driveway for a longer period and to display a banner with the command of Jesus: 'Love your enemies'. A joint statement from the two protesters said: "Even in the best of times this command is difficult to understand and mostly ignored. But in the worst of times, as during this present war, it is virtually impossible even to hear. The need to rid the world of weapons of mass destruction is a goal we also seek, in the other countries of the world as well as Iraq, including Britain and the USA. "Instead we hear from the coalition forces threats to use weapons of mass destruction. Geoff Hoon, the Defence Secretary, on 2 February insisted that Britain was prepared to launch a nuclear strike on Iraq 'in the right conditions'. He has recently also authorised the use of depleted uranium weapons and cluster bombs. "By blockading the Ministry of Defence we hope to disrupt, even if only in some small way, the process whereby such weapons may be used. We also hope to give pause to the killing process. The poor of Iraq have suffered the tyranny of Saddam's regime for too long. That innocent people have died at his hands is a tragedy. Equally tragic are the deaths of those who have been and continue to be killed by the coalition forces. Are we better people because we will kill fewer innocent people than Saddam Hussein? The killing of the innocent does not advance the cause of peace, as 'collateral damage', even if our intentions are 'better'. To its victims war is terror. "Pope John Paul II has said recently: 'War is a failure of humanity.' By our blockade we are saying it is never too late to recover from failure, to make amends, to repent, to choose life!" The action was sponsored by the Catholic peace groups Catholic Peace Action and Pax Christi and is part of their Lenten Campaign of Repentance and Resistance, which began on Ash Wednesday. On that day, 5 March, five Christians risked arrest by marking the Ministry of Defence in Whitehall (the Old War Office) with blessed ash and charcoal in order to resist the nuclear war preparations of this country and to encourage the nation to repent. The protest was repeated on St Patrick's Day.

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